group of team members meeting around table

Pat has six direct reports who in turn manage another 40 people in the Marketing and Sales Department of a medical device company. The pandemic brought all kinds of challenges for her with employee engagement. To grow professionally she engaged an executive coach for one-on-one coaching for herself. After six months she engaged a coach for group coaching for her six direct reports.

She hatched the group coaching idea during one of her coaching sessions in which she was working on improving engagement and communication for her department. It took her about three months to put it in place and still considers it a work in progress. Here are the elements of the program.

Purpose: To create a culture where she would use coaching practices to inspire, motivate, and develop members at every level.

Specific Goals:

Improve employee engagement scores on the biannual survey by 15%

  • Increase the percentage of retained customers by 5%
  • Increase new accounts by 5%
  • Improve communication within the team
  • Improve retention

Key parts of the program

The first key to the program is setting the example. Pat is engaging in one-on-one coaching with an executive coach. She then engaged a coach to conduct a 6-month group coaching program for her six direct reports. She also has a once-a-month coaching session with her direct reports, who in turn have a once-a-month coaching session with their direct reports.

Group coaching

The six leaders meet biweekly for 60 minutes as a group facilitated by a coach. The purpose is for each individual to put in place a professional development plan for themselves. Some of the topics are planned, others are based on what the cohort brings to the session. One area of emphasis is developing coaching skills. This is to support the leaders in coaching their direct reports.

Pat spent a lot of time thinking about how to implement the group coaching. Her belief is by meeting regularly as a cohort they will build synergistic relationships while each individual develops their personal leadership capacity.

Monthly Coaching Sessions

The coaching sessions with direct reports have some parameters:

  • They must be scheduled for a minimum of 30 minutes once a month
  • The direct reports are responsible for scheduling the sessions with their supervisor
  • The topic is always the choice of a direct report.
  • The general focus is required to be on professional career development. This is to keep the coaching session from morphing into status updates on current issues.

Measuring Success

The team has developed some metrics as shown with the goals above. One area still being considered is a survey specifically directed at the coaching.

The Challenges

What challenges do you think they have or will encounter? Keeping the coaching as a priority and letting the daily fray override the coaching is the first.  A metric tied to meetings scheduled and conducted may be required.

Producing and using the professional development plan is a close second. Should this be standardized across the organization? Once complete how is the plan used? Turning the development plan into a list of Key Performance Indicators (KPI) could be counterproductive. Some thoughts on the requirements of the plan and its implementation are a must. It may be a good topic for a group coaching session.

Some training on coaching skills for leadership is also in order. The goal is not to make everyone a certified coach. However, providing every supervisor ongoing training on coaching skills is imperative. Clearly, it will be part of the group coaching sessions. Dedicated training would be beneficial and provide much-needed confidence.

This is one way to implement a coaching culture with some specifics and the thought process behind it. How could you implement a coaching culture in your organization? Contact me if you would like to bounce some ideas around.